Representatives Tim Griffin (R-AR02) and Mark Critz (D-PA12) have introduced an important bipartisan piece of legislation for those facing the prospect of bankruptcy. The Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011 (H.R. 1181) amends federal bankruptcy law to add personal firearms to the list of permissible exemptions. Under this bill, individuals would be able to retain up to $3,000 worth of personal firearms during bankruptcy proceedings.
In announcing this legislation, Representatives Griffin and Critz explained why this bill is so important.
"At this time of economic uncertainty, we need to protect the rights of people to protect themselves," said Griffin, a Republican from Little Rock, Ark. "This bipartisan legislation would ensure that those who find themselves in dire economic circumstances don't have to give up their ability to defend their family from home invasion or lose a piece of their family heritage," Griffin said.
"As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I believe all people, including those in bankruptcy, have a constitutional right to purchase and retain firearms," said Critz, a Democrat from Johnstown, PA. "Current law already protects other personal items from repossession, and the law should be extended to firearms as well."
Chris Cox, Director of the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, praised Griffin and Critz for their leadership in authoring this legislation.
"If law-abiding gun owners find themselves on the brink of financial despair, they should not have to forfeit their constitutional rights, including their right to defend themselves and their loved ones," Cox said. "NRA members and gun owners across the country are grateful for the leadership of Reps. Griffin and Critz on this important issue."
The Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act has been introduced and referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary for consideration. Griffin, a member of the Judiciary Committee, and Critz have sent a letter to their colleagues encouraging them to cosponsor the legislation.